A guest post from Cherise Klekar, Aggie Class of 2015, who is now doing her first year live-in experience (preformation) with the Apostles of the Interior Life – a community of consecrated women who minister at St. Mary’s offering spiritual guidance and formation to the students. Learn more at www.apostlesofil.com.
School of Prayer
There are many reasons why prayer could be difficult in today’s world which is unaccustomed to silence, hungry for immediate responses, and often unrecognizing of the presence of the One True God. While these are not “easy fixes”, they can be combated with a firm foundation in what prayer is and how to enter into it.
This leads then to the next challenge. How does one truly learn how to pray?
Ultimately, to learn how to pray, one must start with prayer. One cannot grow in one’s prayer life until one has a prayer life. But even when one has a prayer life, regular or otherwise, struggles still exist. Many of us may already recognize prayer as a relationship with God but, like with any relationship, it takes work. We have to show up and invest in the relationship for it to grow. But when we do show up and we do come ready to invest, what do we say or do? What should we be listening for? How can we be sure that we are entering into the Lord’s presence and not just remaining in our own?
Here at St. Mary’s, we’ve heard this need and recognized the hunger of the students and permanent parishioners of a program to address questions such as these. True to its name, School of Prayer begins with a teaching moment but then leads into an actual experience of prayer. The goal of School of Prayer is to simply offer the opportunity to experience various forms of prayer in order to either begin or enrich one’s interior life.
This semester, the program lasted 6 weeks and covered 6 various types and topics of prayer. Although matched well together, these sessions stood alone and honed in on the specifics of the day’s focus. Some of these topics included Mental Prayer (dialoguing with God), how to pray a Holy Hour, and Imaginative Prayer.
Those who participated in School of Prayer, whether in part or in its totality, recognized it as a help to “bridge the gap between head and heart” as well as spark a growth in their prayer life. Since each session was led by a different sister (Apostles of the Interior Life) or priest of St. Mary’s, the participants enjoyed the “rotation of people…new voice, and new perspective each week.”
Their suggestions also offered us insight on other topics to cover such as the role of the Holy Spirit and a more in-depth look at the role of the Blessed Virgin Mary. We hope to have the opportunity to cover these and more, as well as review those done in the past in future semesters. Wherever you are currently in your interior life, beginner or advanced; whether you have been praying for years, days, or not yet on a regular basis, we invite you to join us for our next School of Prayer to go beyond what this finite world has to offer and enter into a relationship with the Infinite who alone knows how to satisfy the desires He Himself crafted in your heart.
You can listen to most of the presentations done in the previous School of Prayer in the podcasts below. Also, you can find handouts for these talks on the right side of this page on our website.